3 Head-To-Head Battles That Will Decide Newcastle Vs Arsenal

3. RIGHT-BACK - Daryl Janmaat (NUFC) Vs Hector Bellerin (AFC)

The battle between the right-backs will be a fascinating one on Saturday because it is very much a case of an experienced international facing the new, exciting kid on the block. Daryl Janmaat signed for Newcastle United last summer and replaced Mathieu Debuchy in the Magpies' starting line-up - and he has excelled since. Somewhat ironically, Debuchy has seen himself usurped in the Arsenal XI by Bellerin in recent months, originally due to injury, but now very much due to the young Spaniard's form. The former Barcelona youth-team player is lightning quick and loves nothing more than to bomb forward at every occasion.
The desire for both these full-backs to attack is obvious in their stats from last season. Janmaat made 37 league appearances for Newcastle (all as a starter) and scored once, but he also contributed a staggering six assists. Bellerin meanwhile made 20 league appearances for the Gunners (17 as a starter, three off the bench) and scored twice, contributing one assist. In terms of attacking, both support their forward line magnificently. In a defensive sense, perhaps surprisingly, Bellerin made more tackles per game (3.5 to 2.8), and more interceptions per match than Janmaat (2.8 to 2.1). Janmaat, however, edged the clearances per game with 2.6 to 2.3. Essentially, there was very little to separate the pair.
Verdict: Daryl Janmaat - but only just. There is very little to choose between the pair. Defensively they are both solid but not exceptional, while going forward they are a great asset to their sides. Merely because of Janmaat's experience he gets the nod over Hector Bellerin, but there is very little in it.

NUFC editor for WhatCulture.com/NUFC. History graduate (University of Edinburgh) and NCTJ-trained journalist. I love sports, hopelessly following Newcastle United and Newcastle Falcons. My pastimes include watching and attending sports matches religiously, reading spy books and sampling ales.